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A golf tourney that has players back in the swing

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WALLINGFORD-- The Travelers Championship might be just over two weeks away, but the GHO was Monday. No, not the Greater Hartford Open--we're talking about the Gaylord Hospital Open.

Every year at the Farms Country Club in Wallingford, disabled golfers -- part of the Gaylord Hospital's Sports Association -- tee 'em up in an adaptive golf tournament.

Katie Joly, the Sports Association's program manager, said, "We have folks who have had spinal cord injuries, strokes, traumatic brain injuries, amputations and they are all out here."

"I never thought I would play again," said George Eldridge, a Marine vet who injured himself in a training exercise decades ago and had to have his leg amputated three years ago. Eldridge plays golf sitting down, thanks to an adaptive cart provided by Gaylord. "It's unbelievable that I am out here doing this stuff, it's awesome," Eldridge said.

IMG_5421Eldridge's playing partner, Todd Blosser, from Meriden, is also an amputee who plays on a carbon fiber prosthetic leg -- and plays well. "I put it in my head that I was going to keep playing, " Blosser said. Blosser, who lost his leg nine years ago, said he has become a better player without it. After splitting a fairway and then coming within a centimeter of dropping a 30 foot putt he said,  "I'm about a 7 or 8 handicap now."

Joly noted about 20 disabled athletes competed in the nine-hole tournament this year, and that Gaylord will continue to promote adaptive golf to any player who wants to get involved with the clinics throughout the summer.

"We are out here golfing, having fun, regardless of ability level, everyone is out enjoying the game of golf," she said.